Back again with more WCW Saturday Night from the nineties, featuring probably one of the few guys who was there from the change from NWA to WCW until the very end.
And last week I posted the review in the evening before I went to bed, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to Saturday night everywhere, so read it whenever you’re reading it.
Brad Armstrong and Tim Horner vs. Arn Anderson and Barry Windham
And here is said stalwart, AA. Lightning Express reunion for the faces, one of countless. The Horsemen come out to Barry’s La Grange takeoff, thankfully not omitted. Arn does his throat slit gesture, complete with “SCHWICK!” sound effect. People talk about Flair having to get a bad haircut, what about BW? Arn’s a gentleman enough to be a punching bag for his running buddies early on. Bob Caudle is still around on commentary, VERY late in his run. BW comes in with punches and a slam on Horner, but misses an elbow, which allows Brad in. He backdrops out of a piledriver and goes to the top with a crossbody for two. Five minutes called as Arn comes in, with no heel advantage yet. You know they’re just letting them take as much as they like early on before they start mauling them in a short while. Barry’s back in, to a double clothesline for two. JR talks about having to talk to El Gigante later in the show with little enthusiasm to Bob’s amusement. Almost ten minutes in, and pouring sweat, Arn gets a spinebuster out of nowhere to take possession of the match. He waits a bit before going for the pin, so it’s only two. Barry comes in to put the boots in, including saying to the camera “Watch this, mom!”. Powerslam gets two. Bob comments that the Horsemen are smokin’ but not jokin’ in a precursor to Barry’s later theme song as they go to a break.
Back from the break, Brad gets a sleeper on Arn, but Barry sneaks in with a cheap shot. Barry finally gets the piledriver, and it’s a far better one that I remember him normally doing. Kneedrop on par with Flair and Race. Arn comes in and Brad blocks his punches, but when he leaps for a tag it leads to a reverse atomic drop for two. Arn does his flip bump off a missed double axehandle, which is totally over the top but I still love it. Barry comes in with a DDT for two, then works it by cradling Brad multiple times for further attempts at a pin. No heat machine needed here, they’re all working the crowd like pros. Fifteen minutes called by Rhubarb Jones. Arn misses elbows when he comes in, but Brad rolls out of the ring past Tim. He comes back in with a sunset flip, but Arn walks them back over to Barry. Brad reverses a suplex and FINALLY gets back to Tim via Arn’s legs. Tim, hardly Mr. Personality, comes in and is even getting staid old Bob worked up, but Barry gets his DDT on him to stall that. Horner gets a small package for two, then Doom run in. Ah, shit, I was hoping for a finish! Horner and Armstrong take a powder while Doom attack the Horsemen. Barry runs Reed into Simmons, knocking him out of the ring, then take over on Reed. That SNAFU is the start of the split with the tag champs. Great match, finished by an angle finish.
Terror Risin’ vs. Keith Cole
Debut here for the future Honker Hearst Helmsley, with a sleeveless robe that makes him look like he should be serving mead for Henry VIII. And the heat machine is in OVERDRIVE immediately for this match. Bobby remarks, based on Keith’s haircut, that he and his brother are proof that the Simpsons did have children. Yeah: Bart, Lisa and Maggie. Keith holds an armbar to constant applause, except for when Terra has the advantage, when it’s like Donald Trump is in the room. He avoids a dropkick and drops some elbows. With the much lighter blonde hair, blue tights, white boots, flexing and physique, plus the occasional “HUH!” he’s a clone of Lex Luger at this point. Tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a flapjack, but he misses an elbow off the top and then fucks up on a corner charge. Then Keith starts forgetting where he is too, followed by hitting his knee on the top turnbuckle. Hunter wraps it up by getting the Indian deathlock submission, which he tried bringing out of mothballs a decade later during his Ric Flair impersonation period. Nothing match with a few moments of losing their rhythm, but nothing where they’d kill each other or tear a quad. Paul Levesque made it in wrestling as a success, even though it was strictly just in wrestling.
Arn Anderson vs. Sting
Damn, you’d put this version of Sting over Hollywood Hogan at Starrcade ’97, he’s fucking bronzed, platinum blonde and shredded! This is a first round match in the US title tournament, with Vader getting stripped of the belt rather than beaten for it. Arn, the TV champ, has left the Stud Stable at this point and is using the sweet entrance music that became synonymous with the Horsemen in the Nitro era. Sting’s in white and light blue… could it be a secret alliance with the Smurfs? Stinger backs the Enforcer into the corner and howls in his face, with Arn making a great face in response. They go through the routine of Arn trying to run through Sting a few times and getting put on his butt. Arn pulls the hair on a wristlock, prompting a rare Sting kip-up, then he does it again. Bulldog puts Arn down, who then tries to do his double axehandle off the second, leading to his flip bump, then Sting just boots him in the face and over the top. Back in, Arn treads cautiously and gets a knee and snapmare, but tries his stomp and Sting catches the foot, then gets back up and claps the ears. Bobby gets a terrible dad joke in when he says “You know what to do when your ears ring? Answer them!”. Arn gets some kneedrops in, but misses one, allowing Sting to work the hamstrings. Toe and heel hold into a single leg Boston, with Bobby expressing a preference for this version because you’re using both arms to control one leg, rather than an arm per leg. That’s one of those things that only makes wrestling sense.
Shinbreaker and mounted punches in the corner, with Arn trying an inverted atomic drop out of it. Sting blocks and takes off for the ropes, rebounding into the spinebuster. Arn actually bothered to not give it as much snap because of the bad leg, which he takes a moment to walk around and shake off. Sting does one of his falling back bumps after having his head rammed into the corner, one of those things I liked about him because it was a little more dramatic. Stinger breaks a rear chinlock with a jawbreaker, but Arn clothesline him down. Test of the strength on the mat, with Arn getting caught as always in a body scissors and going to a rope-assisted Boston crab, again one of those things that only makes wrestling sense. Randy Anderson (no relation, not that Arn’s really an Anderson) catches him and forces a break. Sting’s motorcycle boots are starting to slip down like pixie boots. Arn fakes out Sting on a punch and nails the DDT, but is slow to cover and only gets two.
To the outside, Arn goes for a piledriver but is back body dropped out. Sting rolls him back in and follows with a splash off the top. Stinger Splash looks to finish, but Arn gets his elbow up on a second one. Arn goes to the top and is slammed off, and it’s to the Scorpion Deathlock for the submission victory. I knew that would be the result, but it was fun to see how two guys who’d wrestled a hundred times already got there in a different way. Really good match, albeit one that had been had before. After the match, Sting rambles about the nature of a Lights Out match with Big Bubba Rogers like Jeff Hardy on a good hit.
Hector Guerrero vs. Alex Wright
Hector came into WCW to add to the heel turn with Eddie, with Chavo there too. I’m shocked Chavo Sr. didn’t try to hustle for a job too. Hector was always a good wrestler but aged twenty years in ten from 1987, looking more like Eddie’s father than brother. And here comes King Dong, just commencing his heel turn. I stop to question if his protrusion wouldn’t be so prominent if he didn’t do a hip thrusting and swiveling dance, then discount that because it totally would be. As I’ve said before, the brain aneurysm that Alex suffered later in the year killed any chance he had of climbing the ladder and relegated him permanently to a lower spot on the card. At least his specific contract meant he got to fund his later career better than most. The guys trade forearm uppercuts for a minute or two and match each other on monkey flips before Hector gets his lower impact version of Eddie’s snap back suplex. You can see where the influence in the first place was, though. As is tradition for cruiserweights of any nation, Tony and Dusty are talking about anything but the match. Hector misses a shoulderblock and Alex gets his bridging snap suplex for two. They then trade small packages and roll-ups before Das Wunderkind hits the leg lariat and gets the pin with the German suplex. When I was 15 I was all for guys like Alex and Kidman who seemed to be the dark horses of the cruiserweight division, with the more traditional wrestling style. Good, quick match. First reference to “DA MOTHERSHIP!” in these reviews from Big Dust.
Public Enemy vs. Jim Neidhart and the British Bulldog
Talk about guys totally out of place. TPE weren’t so bad, but they went from ECW stars to WCW’s version of the Bushwhackers with tables. Neidhart is spelled Niedhart as is customary in WCW. Scott Hudson and Mike Tenay claim the Anvil has never looked as good in his career in a MASSIVE whopper. Well, at least they’re programmed against the nWo… specifically the washed-up Curt Hennig and boring Brian Adams. I’m shocked to see Davey Boy in the cape at this point, I thought he was just wearing his tights to the ring by this point. Johnny Grunge fucks about with Davey Boy to start, so Davey dropkicks him in the back, with a foot of distance from him and Johnny having to run into Rocco and knock him off the apron to continue their planned spot regardless. So sad. Davey Boy might have died in 2002, but who he was as a superstar wrestler was gone five years prior before he was out of the WWF. TPE keep Bulldog in their corner away from Neidhart. Rocco Rock gets some decent punches and punishment in. Johnny does the jump onto the boot spot to allow Neidhart in. They elbow him in the sizable gut and regain the advantage, but as always one of them takes a bump through the table at ringside and Anvil gets a pretty snappy powerslam for him on Rock for the three. Feels like they should’ve done skits with Johnny and Rocco going to eat at a restaurant and taking a tumble through the table while they were eating for the amount they did in wrestling matches. Rocco tried, but one alright sober guy can’t carry three fucked up guys who don’t have it any more.
The Armstrongs vs. Nick Dinsmore and Mike Sullivan
Scott and Steve trying to play heel is so lame, with shadow boxing at the camera and strutting. They even get time on the mic, although everyone knows that Bob and Brian were the talkers in that family. It’s brought up on commentary that Bobby Eaton has agreed to team up with Kenny Kaos later in the show. I’ll let jab search that one out. A young Eugene and Mike “No relation to Graham or Kevin” Sullivan come out to Chris Jericho’s old basketball highlights music. The story of these reviews seem to be people who aged really quickly, as Nick looks like a teenager at this point. I know little about Sullivan, but apparently he was around the minor leagues for a while. The babyfaces control early by working the arms to make sure they’re not strong, but Steve gets a blindside clothesline from the apron to turn it around. Steve’s actually still using his old Young Pistols gear despite being significantly bigger and more solid. Steve slams Scott onto Dinsmore and draw Sullivan as much as they can to cheat behind the ref’s back. The in-ring heel stuff is far stronger than the entrance or promo stuff, with talk of a conspiracy and claims of being overlooked by the championship committee. At least that’s better than inside references to bookers and getting booked. Dinsmore gets some clotheslines and brings Mike in, but the heels dump Dinsmore and Scott lifts up Sullivan for Steve to hit him with a missile dropkick off the top for the wing. The Armstrongs were going nowhere, but it was an alright match.
The Bottom Line: Overall a good bunch of matches, mainly the Arn ones. Next week I’ll be featuring a guy who started his main ascent in WCW but got far, far bigger in the WWF.